Sub-Negotiations Unveiled:
Beyond the Bottom Line

Welcome back to our blog series “I Received an Offer, What Do I Do? A Blog Series on M&A Do’s and Don’ts.” In our previous posts, we’ve covered various aspects of navigating the complexities of mergers and acquisitions (M&A), including: “The Offer: When To Seek a Trusted Advisor,” “Demystifying M&A Deal Points” and “Strategic Information Release.”

In this article, we will explore the critical role of sub-negotiations in M&A deals and how they extend beyond just the financial aspects.


What are Sub-Negotiations?

Sub-negotiations are separate discussions that take place alongside the main negotiation in an M&A transaction. These negotiations focus on specific issues or concerns that are important to the parties involved but may not be directly related to the overall purchase price. Examples of common sub-negotiations include employment agreements, escrows, baskets and caps on indemnity, indemnification terms, rent (if you own the building), non-compete clauses, earn-outs, and rolled equity.


The Importance of Sub-Negotiations in M&A Transactions

While sub-negotiations may seem like minor details compared to the main deal terms, they can significantly impact the overall success of a transaction closing in the lower middle market. These negotiations can affect post-closing operations and integration, as well as the long-term relationship between the parties involved.

For example, Strategic Exit Advisors (SEA) worked with a professional services company that was seeking a partner to help them with an acquisition strategy. The employment agreement became a crucial sub-negotiation because the owner’s desire was to stay with the business for 3+ years. Although it was a small part of the overall deal, the terms incorporated into the agreement will affect their day-to-day life for the next few years.

With another client, an industrials firm had a next level of management that they wanted to participate in the upside of the company’s future growth. SEA and the owners worked with the buyer to establish management incentive options for key staff, ensuring that they would benefit in equity ownership for helping to grow the business.

By addressing these issues during the negotiation process, both buyers and sellers can ensure a smooth transition, avoid common mistakes, and align the interests of essential personnel, ultimately contributing to the success of the merged entity.


Navigating Sub-Negotiations in the Lower Middle Market

To effectively navigate sub-negotiations, preparation is key. Gather information and anticipate potential issues that may arise. Assemble the right team, involving relevant stakeholders and experts who can provide valuable insights and guidance.

Prioritize and sequence sub-negotiations based on their importance and establish a logical order for addressing them. It’s essential to negotiate with a holistic view, considering the interplay between sub-negotiations and the main deal terms.

Seeking professional guidance from the advisory team at SEA can be invaluable in navigating complex sub-negotiations. Why? We can help identify potential pitfalls, develop effective strategies, and ensure that your interests are protected throughout the process.


Understanding Priorities that Drive Value

Sub-negotiations play a significant role in safeguarding the interests of all parties involved and understanding key metrics that drive value. They also help mitigate risks that may arise post-closing. By addressing these issues upfront, companies can ensure a smoother transition and a more successful long-term outcome.

It’s crucial to approach sub-negotiations with diligence and strategic foresight. While the main deal terms may be the focus of attention, neglecting sub-negotiations can lead to unintended consequences and potentially jeopardize the success of the transaction.


Key Takeaways

Sub-negotiations are a critical component of M&A transactions that extend beyond just the financial aspects. By understanding their importance, preparing thoroughly, and seeking professional guidance, companies can navigate these negotiations effectively and ensure a more successful outcome. Remember, Do: Foster good terms and navigate sub-negotiations that impact the deal beyond price.  Don’t: Allow your ego to interfere with the process.

In our next post, we’ll explore “The Art of Concluding.” Stay tuned for more insights and strategies to help you navigate the complex world of M&A.


Experience the Strategic Exit Advisors Difference

Our expert team excels at guiding entrepreneurs through challenges, empowering them to make informed, high-value decisions for their best exit. SEA meticulously aligns with your unique transition goals, tailoring our process to achieve optimal outcomes with precision. Connect with us now at (215) 489-8881 or schedule a conversation to unlock your ideal exit strategy.

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